How to be more confident? Basically, you’ve got two choices: change your way of thinking, or fake it until you make it.

Whether you have to give a speech, need to negotiate a deal, want to find a mate, or simply get ahead in life, confidence is your best friend.

If you’re lacking in that regard, here’s how to change your thinking or at the very least make it appear as if you’re comfortable in your own skin.

 

1. Do not slouch

slouch-karryon

An even better incentive…

Regardless of your confidence level, slouching communicates you lack faith in yourself.

Try posting a note on the edge of your computer display with a reminder such as an up arrow in thick red marker or the words “SIT UP STRAIGHT.”

To correct yourself roll your shoulders back and imagine someone just pulled a string from the top of your head, elongating your spine and raising your chin so it’s in a neutral, forward-facing position. Taking up yoga also helps.

 

2. Understand that most people aren’t thinking about you

Self-conscious people worry too much about what others think about them. The thing is, usually, other people aren’t thinking about them – at all.

Imagine you had the magical power to read the thoughts of the people around you. You know what you’d hear? A lot of stuff like this.

Crap, I forgot to stop by the bank … I shouldn’t have eaten that cake Kristin brought to work, now I feel fat… I hope Andy flirts with me again tonight at mixed Netball like he did last week … Why should I have to clean the downstairs bathroom when Sarah is the only one in the house who uses it?

Notice how many times “I” might pop up? Humans are remarkably self-absorbed.

 

3. Fix negative self-talk

modest or shy because of a lack of self-confidence.

Which will you choose?

If “diffident” (modest or shy because of a lack of self-confidence) describes you well, there’s a good chance you’re an over-thinker with a lot of negative self-talk rolling around in your head.

Pay attention to what you’re saying to yourself.

Every time you think something like “I can’t do this” replace it with something positive such as “I’m going to give it my best shot.” The key is to step out of yourself and look at your self-talk as an outsider.

How would it make you feel to hear someone sitting next to you say “I’m so [fat, dumb, ugly, slow, etc.]?” Pretty harsh, right?

Nurture yourself within your thoughts, just as you might with someone else.

 

4. Lighten up

Pic: Priscilla du Preez

Pic: Priscilla du Preez

Some people are naturally more serious than others. If this is you, learn to smile and laugh more. Even a simple grin will suffice to entice others to want to be around you.

To make smiling a habit, set a time when you’ll practice doing it for several minutes straight – maybe in the car on your way to work. It will seem weird, but after a while smiling will come more naturally. Studies have also shown that forcing yourself to smile is good for your health, as well.

Need help laughing? Put on an episode of your favourite show, or why not tune into a comedy podcast and get happy during your lunch break? Or use the “funny” filter to watch TED Talks that will get you giggling.

 

5. Handle mistakes with grace

grace

How you handle slip-ups is also important. Confident people understand no one is perfect and however you just screwed up; it’s probably not the end of the world.

Ask yourself: How important will this mistake seem in three months?

If whatever you did involve your work output, acknowledge your gaff and vow to do better next time. If your “mistake” is only that you said something stupid or tripped over a box in the storage room landing in a mess on the floor, try laughing it off.

It’s the most gracious way to handle a blunder.

What are your favourite tips to be more confident?